Herringbone — It’s Not Just For Tweed Anymore (or How to Cut a Boule)

So, you’ve been baking artisan breads for some time now, and you’ve finally learned how to consistently shape a nice boule. “Now”, you wonder, “how do I cut it?” Sure, you could just slice it like any other loaf, from one side to the other. But then you’ll end up with small pieces at the ends of the loaf and giant slices from the middle.

If only there was a way to cut nice, evenly-sized slices the whole way through the loaf….

Take heart, home baker, there is! All you need is a herringbone cut. Now, that may sound like some exotic technique only available to master bakers. But I’m here to tell (and show) you that you can do this at home. And you don’t need any special skills or equipment to accomplish beautiful, even slices.

So here is a simple, easy-to-follow picture tutorial that will have you slicing your boules like a pro.

First, cut a slice like you normally would. How easy is that?

Then turn your loaf counterclockwise slightly less than 90° and make another slice. Note how that end of slice #2 overlaps the first slice just slightly.

For the third slice, rotate the loaf clockwise and make the slice where you made slice #1.

Counterclockwise again for slice #4, from where you made slice #2. Back to the beginning position for slice #5, and so on.

And if you’re wondering why it’s called a herringbone cut, here is the partially sliced loaf reassembled:

See how the slices overlap like herringbone?

That’s all there is to it. Pretty cool, huh? Now, go bake a boule so you can try it yourself!


  1. kevin said,

    September 17, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    you are my hero for the day. maybe the weekend. seriously. I love baking boules but my family complains that they can’t use them for sammiches. now they can!

  2. Rutherford Thompson said,

    May 15, 2010 at 10:56 am

    Thank you. I never thought of that way of slicing a boule.

    Just a thought, though. From you pictures it appears that you are turning the boule a little less than 90° and quite a bit more than 45°. I know — picky, picky, picky. I intend no offense.

    • gaaarp said,

      May 15, 2010 at 11:51 am

      You’re absolutely right. Thanks for pointing that out. I will fix the post.

  3. Margaret said,

    May 14, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    This is good to know. I always end up with little slices of bread that are still good, but not for anything but a nice spread of butter or olive oil.

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